MedWatch Today: Parents and children getting prescriptions for play time

Med Watch Today

When a doctor writes you a prescription, you follow their orders, right? Well, what if your child’s pediatrician wrote both of you a prescription for play time? That’s the doctor’s orders at Community Medical Providers. They’re participating in Lego’s Prescription for Play initiative encouraging parents to join their young children in playing and building blocks for fifteen minutes a day.

A visit to the doctor’s office isn’t always fun, but it can be when toys are involved.

“It’s really exciting, I mean, coming to the doctor’s office, the kids are kind of a little leery to begin with and having the Lego program here is really, gets them excited to come to the doctor and also lets them know it’s okay to play while they’re here. They don’t have to be in a stuffy room and be scared,” stated mother Sherri.

Sherri is mom to two-year old Josie. At josie’s last visit with Dr. Veronica Ramirez, she received a lego set to build a duck, and Dr. Ramirez gave Sherri and her daughter a very specific order.

Dr. Ramirez said, “Basically, Lego has sent us actual prescriptions that we can give to our patients and their families, encouraging them to take fifteen minutes of their time to play with their children.”

Dr. Ramirez explains, their office is among the first in the Central Valley to launch Lego’s Prescription for Play program.

“So the whole goal is first off, to encourage play between families and the children so that they’re not, you know, using screens all the time, but with that, we get the added benefit of fine motor development, communication development, you can talk about the colors of the legos, you can talk about the shapes of the legos,” explained Dr. Ramirez.

The program is aimed at children 18 to 36 months – just like Josie.

Sherri said, “It’s really exciting to be able to watch them use their imagination and build the little creations that they make in their mind and watch them come to life. It’s fun!”

Dr. Quinton Young also participates in the program. He said the skills children learn with Legos can go a long way in their development.

“It opens up their imagination which helps us, I think, kinda get into their mind and see what they’re doing and what they’re thinking and then we can then add on to that,” said Dr. Young.

According to Lego’s website, the toymaker’s mission behind Prescripton for Play is to provide young children fun experiences that support learning and development, including, shapes and colors, fine motor skills, numbers and counting, imagination and creativity, and language development.

Dr. Young said those fifteen minutes of play time in this busy world we live in, is incredibly crucial.

“The goal is that we as parents are just spending that time with our kids,” said Dr. Young.

Sherri commented, “Playing with Legos is fun and we, we’re able to get that quality time together and with each other.”

But Dr. Ramirez said if you don’t have Legos in your home, don’t fret. She suggests, children can play with generic blocks, pots and pans, woodens spoons, whatever large colorful objects that can get their minds thinking and their imaginations flowing.

“The general concept that we want to convey to our parents is, spend fifteen minutes a day with your child especially under the age of five, that’s when the majority of their development is happening,” stated Dr. Young.

Prescription for Play launched in the United States in February. Lego said they hope to reach at least 50,000 children to encourage them to keep creating.

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